J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen.

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have fully met my expectations in discharge of the
various duties connected with their department, as
well as those assigned them in the quartermaster's

This column, in six weeks, penetrated one hun-
dred and fifty miles into the enemy's country, open-
ed roads, and constructed bridges and causeways,
when necessary, on the greater portion of the route,
••stablished two depots, and the necessary defences
for the same, and finally overtook and beat the ene-
my in his strongest position. The results of which
movement and battle have been the capture of thirty
of the hostiles, the coming in, and surrendering of
more than one hundred and fifty Indians and negroes,
mostly the former, including the chiefs Ou-la-loo-
ohee, Tus-ta-nug-gee, and other principal men, the
capturing and drivmg out of the country six hundred
head of cattle, upwards of one hundred head of hor-
.ses, besides obtaining a thorough knowledge of the
country through which we operated, a greater por-
tion of which was entirely unknown, except to the

Colonel Gentry died in a few hours after the battle,
much regretted by the army, and will be, doubtless,
by all who knew him, as his State did not contain a
braver man or a better citizen.

It is due to his rank and talents, as well as to his
long and important services, that 1 particularly men-
tion Lieutenant-Colone! A. R. Thompson, of the Gth
infantry, who fell, in the discharge of his duty, at
the head of his regiment. He was in feeble health,
brought on by exposure to this climate during the
past summer, refusing to leave the country while his
regiment continued in it. Although he received two
balls from the fire of the enemy, early in the action,
v/hich v/ounded him severely, yet he appeared to
'lisregard them, and continued to give his orders
with the same coolness that he would have done had
his regimen' been under review, or on any parade
duty. Advancing, he received a third ball, which
at once deprived him of life; his last words were,
" Keep steady, men, charge the hammock— remem-
ber the regiment to which you belong." 1 had
known Colonel Thompson personally only for a short
time, and the more I knew ol him the more I wished
to know ; and had his life been spared, our acquaint-
iince, no doubt, would have ripened into the closest
friendship. Under such circumstances, there are
few, if any, other than his bereaved wife, mother,
ind sisters, who more deeply and sincerely lament
his lofis, or who will longer cherish his memory,
than myself.

Captain Van Swearingen, Lieutenant Brooke, and
f^icutenant and Adjutant Center, of the same regi-
ment, who fell on that day, had no superiors of their

years in service, and, in point of chivalry, ranked a'
mong the first in the army or nation ; besides their
pure and disinterested courage, they possessed other
qualifications, which qualifiLd them to fill the highest
grades ot their profession, which, no doubt, they
would have attained and adorned had tiieir lives been
spared. The two former served with me on another
aidnous and trying campaign, and on every occasion^
whether in the camp, on the march, or on the field
of battle, discharged their various duties to my en-
tire satisfaction.

With greatest respect,

1 have the honor to be, sir.

Your most obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Col. Com'g.

To Brig. Gen. R. Jones, Adj Gen., U.S. A., ^

Washington, D. C. ^

Palo Alto and Resaca de ia Palma.


[0FFici.iL.] From the Union of May 26.

Headquarters Jinny of Occvpaiion,
Point Isabel, Texas, May 7, 184G.

Sir: — I respectfully report that 1 shall march this
day with the main body of the army, to open a com-
munication with Major Brown, and throw forward
supplies of ordnance and provisions. If the enemy
opposts my march in ivhalever force I shall fight him. —
Occasional guns are heard in the direction of Mata-
moros, showing that everything is right in that quar-

Yesterday the recruits under Lieut. McPhail ar-
rived here. After filling up the companies of the
permanent garrison, (A 1st arty, and G 4th arty.,)
the remainder of the detachment, with its officers,
was placed under Major Monroe's orders to assist in
the defence of the depot. The men are yet too raw
to take the field, though efiicienl for garrison de-
lence. They will be permanently assigned as soon
as practicable.

The four companies of the first infantry are hour-
ly expected, and will be a seasonable reinforcement.
The first shipment of volunteers from New Orleans
may also soon be looked for. Their arrival will en-
able me to open the river and free our communica-

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obed't scrv't.,
Brevet brig'r. gen. U. S. A. com'g.
The adjutant general of tlie army, Washington, D. C.

Headquarters Army of Occupation,
Camp at Palo Jllto, Texas, Mty 9, 1846.

Sir: — I have the honor to report that I was met
near this place yesterday, on my march from Point
Isabel, by the Mexican forces, and alter an action
of about five hours dislodged them from their posi-
tion, and encamped upon the field. Our artillery,
consisting of two 18 pounders and two light batteries,
was the arm chielly engaged, and to the excellent
manner in which it was manceuvered and served is
our success mainly due.

The strength of the enemy is believed to have been
about six thousand men, with seven pieces of artil-
lery, and eight hundred cavalry. His loss is proba-
bly at least one hundred killed. Our strength did
not exceed all told twenty-three hundred, while our



loss was comparatively trifling — four men killed,
three otlicers mid tliirty-seveii men wuuiuled, sever-
al oT the latter niortiilly. 1 regcct to say tbat Major
Ringgold, 3d artillery, and Capt. Tage, 4lli infantry,
are severely wounded. Lieut. Luther, 2d artillery,
slightly so.

The enemy lias fallen back, and it is believed kas
repassed the river. I have advanced parties now
thrown forward in his direction, and shall move the
main body immediately.

In the haste of tliis first report, I can only say that
the ofScers and men behaved in the most admirable
manner throughout the action. 1 shall have the
pleasure of making a more detailed report when
those of the dilferent commanders shall be received.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brevet brigadier general U. S. A. conimand'g.
The adjutant general, U. S. army, Wasliington, D. C.

Headquarters ^drmy of Occupation,
Camp at Resaca dc la Palina, 3 milts from Mata-
moros, 10 o^clock, p. m , Muij^th, \8iG.

Sir: — 1 have the honor to report that I marched
with the main body of the army at 2 o'clock to-day,
having previously thrown forward a body of light in-
fantry into the forest, which covers the Matamoros
road. When near the spot where I encamped, my
advance discovered that a ravine crossing the I'oad
had been occupied by the enemy with artillery. I
immediately ordered a battery uf field artillery to
sweep the position, Hanking and sustanii;ig it by the
3d, 4th, and 5lh regiments, deployed as skirmishers
to the right and left. A heavy fire of artillery and
of musketry was kept up for some lime, until finally
the enemy's batteries were carried in succession by
a squadron of dragoons and the regiments of infantry
that were on the ground. He was soon driven from
his position, and pursued by a squadron of dragoons,
battalion of artillery, 3d infantry, and a light battery,
to the river. Our victory has been complete. —
Eight pieces of artillery, with a great quantity of
ammunition, three standards, and some one hundred
prisoners have been taken; among the latter. Gen.
La Vega, and several other officers. One general is
understood to have been killed. The enemy has re-
crossed the river, and I am sure will not again mo-
lest us on this bank.

The loss of the enemy in killed has been most se-
vere. Our own has been very heavy, and I deeply
regret to report that Lieut. Inge, 2d dragoons, Lieut.
Cochran, 4th infantry, and Lieut. Chadbourne, 8th
infantry, were killed on the field. Lieut. Col.
Payne, 4th artillery, Lieut. Col. Mcintosh, Lieut.
Dobbins, 3d infantry, Capt. Hooe, and Lieut. Fowler,
5th infantry, and Capt. Montgomery, Lieut. Gates,
tselden, McClay, Burbank, and Jordan, 8lh infantry,
were wounded. The extent of our loss in killed and
wounded is not yet ascertained, and is reserved for
a more detailed report.

The afiair of to-day may be regarded as a proper
supplement to the cannonade of yesterday; and the
two taken together, exhibit the coolness and gallant-
ry of our otticers and men in the most favorable
light. All have done their duty, and done it nobly.
It will be my pride, in a more circumstantial report
of both actions, to dwell upon particular instances of
individual distinction.

It afibrds me peculiar pleasure to report that tlie
field work opposite Matamoros has sustained itself
handsomely during a cannonade and bombardment

of 160 hours. But the pleasure is alloyed with pro-
found regret at the loss of its heroic and indoinitabit-
commander. Major lirovvn, wlio died from the elfect
of a shell. Ills loss would be a severe one to the
service at any time, but to the army under my orders,
it is indeed irreparable. One officer and one non-
commissioned officer killed, and ten men wounded,
comprise all the casualties incident to this severe

I inadvertently omitted to mention the capture of
a large number of pack mules left in the ^lexican

1 am, sir, very respectfully, your ob't scrv't,
Bt. brig'r general U. S. A. command'g.
The adjutant general of the array, Washington, D.C.

Headquarters Jlrmy of Occupation,
Resaca dc la I'aima, May 11, 1846.
[Orders No. 59.]

1. The commanding general congratulates thf
army under his command upon the signal success
which has crowned its recent operations against the
enemy. The coolness and steadiness of the troops
during the action of the 8th, and the brilliant impet-
uosity with which the enemy's position and artillery
were carried on th« 9th, have displayed the best
qualities of the American soldier. To every officer
and soldier of his command, the general returns his
thanks for the noble manner in which they have sus-
tained the honor of the service and cf the country.
While the main body of the army has been thus ac-
tively employed, the garrison left opposite Mata-
moros has rendered no less distinguished service by
sustaining a severe cannonade and bombardment for
many successive days. The army and tlie country,
while justly rejoicing in this triumph of our arms,
will deplore the loss of many brave oliicers and meti
who fell gallantly in the hour of combat.

2. It being necessary for the commanding general
to visit Point Isabel on public business. Col. Tvvigg-.
will assume the command of the corps of the army
near Matamoros, including the garrison of the field
work. He will occupy the former lines of the army,
making such dispositions for defence and for the
comfort of his command as he may deem advisable.
He will hold himself strictly on the defensive until
the return of the commanding general.

By order of Brig. Gen Taylor.

W. W. J. BLISS, act. adj. general.

IJeadqvarters ,/]rn\y of Occupation,
Point Isabel, (Texas,) J\Iay 12, 1846.

Sir: — In making a hasty visit to this place, for
the purpose of having an interview with (^Jommodort-
Conner, whose squadron is now at anchor off th«-
harbor, and arranging with him a combined move-
ment up the river, I avail myself of the brief tinu
at my command to report that the main body of thf-
army is now occupying its former position opposite
Matamoros. The Mexican forces are almost disor-
ganized, and I shall lose no time in investing Mata-
moros, and opening the navigation of the river.

I I egret to report that Major Ringgold died the
morning of the 11th inst. of the severe wounds re-
ceived m the action of Palo Alto. With ihe excep-
tion of Capt. Page, whose wound is dangerous, the
other wounded officers are doing well In my re-
port of the second engagement, I accidentally omit-
ted the name of Lieut. Dobbins, .3d infantry, anions
the officers slightly wounded, and desire that the



omission may be supplied in the despatch itself. I
am under the painful necessity of reporting; that
I.-ieut. Bl.ilce, topogrnphiral engineer, after render-
ing distins^urshed service in my stafi'durnig the ati'iir
of the 8th inst., accidentally siiot himself with a pis-
tol on the following day, and expired before night.

It has been quite impossible as yet to furnish de-
tailed reports of our engagen)enls with the enemy,
or even accurate returns of the killed and wounded.
Our loss is not far from 3o(lieers and 40 men killed,
and 13 officers and 100 men wounded; while that of
l!ie enemy has in all probability exceeded 300 killed;
more than 200 have been buried by us on the two
fields of battle.

I have exchanged a sufficient number of prisoners
to recover the command of Cant. Thornton. The
wounded prisoners have been sent to Matamoros —
the wounded officei's on their parole. General La
Vega and a few other officers have been sent to New
•Orleans, having declined a parole, and will be re-
ported to Major Gen. Gaines. I am not conversant
with the usages of war in such cases, and beg that
such provision may be made for these prisoners as
may be authorized by law. Our own prisoners have
been treated with great kindness by the Mexican of-

I am, sir, very respectfullv, vour ob't serv't,
Bt. brig. gen. U. S. A. command'g.
The adjutant general of the army, Washington, D. C.

HeadqnnrUrs Army of Occupation,
IOrdeus No. no.] Fort Polk, Texas, May 12, 1^46.

As a mark of respect to the chief magistrate of the
republic, the work constructed at this place, to cov-
i>.r the main depot of the army, will be known as
'•Fort Polk."

The commanding general takes this occasion to
i-xpress his satisfaction with the dispositions made
lor the defence and protection of this point, so vital-
ly important to the etficiency and security of the
;irmy. To Major Munroe, the commanding officer,
<'api. Sanders, of the engineers. Majors Thomas and
McRee, and Captains Sibley and Hill of the qnai-ter-
master's department, Capt. Ramsey, of the ordnance,
and Lieutenant Montgomery, of the subsistence de-
partments, credit is especially due for their zeal and
activity. The general returns his thanks to the nu-
merous citizens who volunteered their services in the
defence of the depot. Their assistance added ma-
terially to its strength and his confidence in its abili-
ty to resist an attack. The reinforcements from the
brig " Lawrence," under Lieut. Renshaw, and the
large force of seamen and marines so promptly fur-
nished by the squadron on its arrival, require a
special acknowledgment to Commodore Conner and
Commander Mercer of the navy. The army is
deeply grateful for Ihis support and co-operation
from a kindred branch of the public service.

By order of Brigadier General Tavloh,

Acting adjutant general.

Hecidqunrterx Army of Occiipntion,
Point Isabel, Texas, May IL', 1846.
[Special Orukrs, No. G'2]
I. General La Vega and the other Mexican ofii-
cers, prisoners of war, will be conducted to New
Orleans under charge of Lieut. J. J. Reynolds, 4lh
artillery, v/lio will report on his arrival to iMajor
General Gaines, for further inslructions. The quar-

termaster's department will furnish a steamer for the
transportation of the party.

2. As many of the sick and wounded now at this
place as may be indicated by Surgeon Wood, will be
sent in suitable transports to St. Joseph's Island.

Assistant Surgeon Byrne will accompany the de-
tachment, and will return with the convalescents
that may be in condition tn leave the general hos-
pital. The quartermaster's department will furnish
the proper transportation.

By order of Brigadier General Tatlor.

Acting adjutant general.

Headquarters of the Jlrmy of Occupation,

Camp near Matamoros, May 16th, 1846.

Sir : — I have now the honor to submit a more de-
tailed report of the action of the 8th inst.

The main body of the army of occupation marched
under my immediate orders from Point Isabel on the
evening of the 7th May, and bivouacked seven miles
from that place.

Our march was resumed the following morning.
About noon, when o\ir advance of cavalry had reach-
ed the water-hole of "Palo Alto," the Mexican
troops were reported in our front, and were soon
discovered occupying the road in force. 1 ordered
a halt upon reaching the water, with a view to rest
and refresh the men, and form deliberately our line
of battle. The Mexican line was now plainly visible
across the prairie, and about three-qaarters of a mile
distant. Their left, which was composed of a heavy
force of cavalry, occupied the road, resting upon a
thicket of chaparral, while masses of infantry were
discovered in succession on the right, greatly out-
numbering our own force.

Our line of battle was now formed in the follow-
ing order, commencirig on the extreme right: 5th
infantry, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Mcintosh;
Major Ringgold's artillery ; 3d infantry, commanded
by Captain L. M. Morris; two lb-pounders, com-
manded by Lieut. Churchill, 3d artillery: 4lh infan-
try, commanded by Major G. W. Allen ; the 3d and
4th regiments composed the third brigade, under
command of Lieutenant Colonel Garland, and all
the above corps, together with two squadrons of
dragoons, under Captains Ker and May, composed
the right wing, under the orders of Colonel Twiggs.
The left was formed by the battalion of artillery
commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Childs, Captian
Duncan's light artillery, and the 8th infantry under
Captain Montgomery, all lorming the first brigade,
under command of Lieutenant Colonel Belknap.
The train was parked near tlie water, under direc-
tions of Captains Crossman and Myers, and protected
by Captain Ker's squadron.

About two o'clock we took up the march by heads
of columns, in the direction of the enemy, the 18
pounder battery following the road. While the
columns were advancing, J^ieutcnant Blake, Topo-
graphical Engineers, volunteered a reconnoisance
of the enemy's line, which was handsomely perform-
ed, and resulted in the discovery of at least two bat-
teries of artillery in the intervals of their cavalry
and infantry. These batteries were soon opened
upon us, when 1 ordered the columns lialtcd and de-
ployed into line, and the lire lo be returned by all
our artillery. The 8th infantry, on onr extreme left,
was thrown back to secure that flank. The first
fires of the enemy did little execution, while our 18-
pounders and Major Ringgold's artillery soon dis-



persed the cavalry which formed his left. Captain
Duncan's batlery, thrown forward in advance of the
line, was doing; good execution at this time. Captain
May's squadron was now detached to support that
battery and the left of our position. The Mexican
cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, were now re-
ported to be moving through the chaparral to our
right, to threaten that flank, or make a demonstra-
tion against the train. The 5th infantry was imme-
diately detached to check this movement, and, sup-
ported by Lieutenant Ridgely, with a section of
Major Ringgold's battery, and Captain Walker's
company of volunteers, ett'ectually repulsed the ene-
my — the 5th infantry repelling a charge of lancers,
and the artillery doing great execution in their ranks.
The 3d infantry was now detached to the right, as a
still further security to that flank, yet threatened by
the enemy. Major Ringgold, with the remaining
section, kept up his fire from an advanced position,
and was supported by the 4th infantry.

The grass of the prairie had been accidentally
fired by our artillery, and the volumes of smoke now
partially concealed the armies from each other. As
the enemy's left had evidently been driven back, and
left the road free, and as the cannonade had been
suspended, I ordered forward the 18-pounders on the
road, nearly to the position first occupied by the
Mexican cavalry, and caused the first brigade lo take
up a new position, still on the left of the 18-pounder
battery. The 5th was advanced from its former po-
sition, and occupied a point on the extreme right of
the new line. The enemy made a change of position
corresponding to our own, and after a suspension of
nearly an hour, the action was resumed.

The fire of artillery was now most destructive;
openings were constantly made through the enemy's
ranks by our fire, and the constancy with which the
Mexican infantry sustained this severe cannonade
was a theme of universal remark and admiration.
Captain May's squadron was detached to make a
demonstration on the left of the enemy's position,
and suftered severely from the fire of artillery, to
which it was for some time exposed.

The 4th infantry, which had been ordered to sup-
port the 18-pounder battery, was exposed to a most
galling fire of artillery, by which several men were
killed, and Captain Page dangerously wounded. The
enemy's fire was directed against the 18-pounder
battery and the guns under Major Ringgold, in its
vicinity. The Major himself, while coolly directing
the fire of his pieces, was struck by a cannon ball
and mortally wounded.

In the mean time the battalion of artillery under
Lieut. Col. Childs had been brought up to support
the artillery on our right. A strong demonstration
of cavalry was now made by the enemy against this
part of our line, and the columr. continued to ad-
vance under a severe fire from the 18-pounders.
The battalion was mstantly formed in square, and
held ready to receive the charge of cavalry, but
when the'advancing squadrons were within close
range, a deadly fire of canister from the 18-pounders
dispersed them. A brisk fire of small arms was now
opened upon the square, by which one efficer (Lieut.
Luther, 2d artillery) was slightly wounded; but a
well-directed volley from the front of the square
silenced all lurlher firing from the enemy in this
quarter. It was now nearly dark, and the action was
closed on the right of our line, the enemy having
been completely driven back from his position and
foiled in every attempt against our line.

While the above was going forward on our right,

and under my own eye, the enemy had made a se-
rious attempt against the left of our line, ('aptain
Duncan instantly perceived the movonicnt, and, by
the bold and brilliant manojuvring of his battery,
completely repulsed several successive eft'orts of the
enemy lo advance in force upon our left (lank. Sup-
ported in succession by the 8ih infantry and by (>.ipt.
Ker's squadron of dragoons, he gallantly held the
enemy at bay, and finally drove him, with immense
loss, from the field. ']"he action here and along the
whole line continued until dark, when the enemy re-
tired into the chaparral, in rear of his jjosition. Our
army bivouacked on the ground it occupied. During
the afternoon the train had been moved forward
about half a mile, and was parked in rear of the new

Our loss this day was nine killed, forty-four
wounded, and two missing. Among the wounded
were Major Ringgold, who has since died, and Capt.
Page dangerously wounded, Lieut. Luther slightly
so. 1 annex a tabular statement of the casualties of
the day.

Our own force engaged is shown by the field re-
port herewith to have been 177 ofiicers and 2,111
men, aggregate 2,288. The .Mexican force, accord-
ing to the statements of their own officers taken
prisoners in the afiair of the 9lh, was not less than
6,000 regular troops, with ten pieces of artillery,
and probably exceeded that number — the irregular
force not known. Their loss was not less than 200
killed and 400 wounded— probably greater. This
estimate is very moderate, and formed upon the
number actually counted upon the field, and upon
the reports of their own officers.

As already reported in my first brief despatch, the
conduct of ourofficers and men was every thing that
could be desired. Exposed for hours to the severest
trial— a cannonade of artillery— our troops displayed
a coolness and constancy which gave me throughout
the assurance of victory.

I purposely defer the mention of individuals until
my report of the action of the 9lh, when 1 will en-
deavor to do justice to the many instances of dis-
tinguished conduct on both days. In the mean time
I refer for more minute details to the reports of indi-

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Online LibraryJ. G. (John Gideon) MillingenThe Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner → online text (page 6 of 16)